The oil on Caster

Hormone drugs weaken Caster Semenya

Mike Hurst

From: News Limited newspapers September 30, 2010

CASTER Semenya is not the woman she was.
Hormone treatment for her rare inter-sex condition has athletics insiders believing the changes in her body have contributed to the back injury that has ruled her out of the Commonwealth Games.

It is another major blow for the Delhi Games.

Semenya is the latest addition to a growing list of high profile stars who won’t be competing, including Usain Bolt, Dani Samuels and Asafa Powell.

South Africa’s chief medical officer Shuaib Manjra said scans in Johannesburg on Tuesday revealed Semenya had a back injury.

Semenya said she had been suffering serious lower back pain and did not feel comfortable in her last few races.

“It would serve no purpose to have an athlete in Delhi who was struggling with any sort of injury that would compromise performance and it is our medical view that physically and emotionally she would not be capable of doing justice to her talent at an event of this magnitude,” Majra said in a statement.

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Experts warned that without lessening her gruelling training regime, Semenya would be prone to develop stress fractures in her back during her hormone treatment.

The 19-year-old came storming back to form in Europe recently, indicating she had picked up where she left off prior to the gender debate blowing up last year.

South African media yesterday reported the team’s chief medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, saying an MRI scan showed Semenya had an inflammation in her spine and there were fears that if she continued to compete this might have developed into a stress fracture.